NORAD fighter jets to fly over Toronto in training exercise in middle of pandemic
Organization says exercise not part of government's response to COVID-19
Fighter jets are expected to fly over Toronto on Monday morning as the North American Aerospace Defence Command conducts a training exercise.
NORAD said the training exercise, involving Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, will take place between 10 and 11:30 a.m. ET in airspace over Toronto.
"This NORAD training event is not related in any way to the government of Canada's response to COVID-19," the organization said in a news release on Friday.
NORAD said the jets will be working with the Canadian Air Defence Sector at 22 Wing North Bay, Ont., and civilian air traffic control in the Toronto area as it practises what it calls "response procedures in high-density airspace" over the city.
"While the aircraft will be operating at a high altitude, the public may be able to see and hear them, and the fighters may conduct approaches at local airfields," NORAD said in the release.
The organization said the training exercise was developed with NAV Canada and is being conducted under Operation NOBLE EAGLE, which places emphasis on the surveillance and control of airspace over Canada and the U.S.
NORAD added that its exercises are "carefully planned" and "closely controlled."
It said it routinely conducts exercises with a number of scenarios such as airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responses to unknown aircraft.
As of Sunday, Ontario has been under a state of emergency for 41 days and Toronto residents have been urged to stay home and restrict their movements as the city battles COVID-19.